It’s hard to sympathise with Premier League footballers, with almost every single one of us willing to swap lives with them. However, don’t be so quick to think that the life of a professional football player is everything it’s made out to be.
Sitting on the bench for the majority of the season doesn’t exactly sound like much fun, but for these 10 players (excluding goalkeepers) it has been a brutal reality this season, as the Sun reported.
Reckon you know which players spent the most amount of time on the substitutes’ bench in the Premier League this season? Read on to find out…
10. Ashley Fletcher
Time spent on the bench this season: 1 day, 11 hours and 53 minutes
The 21-year-old striker signed for West Ham United last summer, after failing to make the grade at former club Manchester United, but it’s been pretty much the same story in East London, with Fletcher barely getting a look in.
Of his 13 Premier League appearances this season, Fletcher started just two, playing 90 minutes as the Hammers lost 5-1 and 3-1 to Arsenal and Manchester City respectively. Despite playing 311 minutes, the England under 20 international has yet to find the back of the net in the league.
9. Jon Flanagan
Time spent on the bench this season: 1 day, 12 hours and 13 minutes
It’s fair to assume that when Liverpool sent Jon Flanagan out on loan to Burnley, they were expecting the industrious full back to get a decent amount of playing time. However, it has been the total opposite for the 24-year-old, who’s been a constant fixture on the Clarets’ bench.
The one-capped England international has spent a total of 21 games as an unused substitute for Sean Dyche’s side, while he’s made just three starts for the Lancashire side in the top flight this campaign.
8. Kieran Gibbs
Time spent on the bench this season: 1 day, 12 hours and 25 minutes
From one bored full back to another, Kieran Gibbs was once seen as the rightful successor to Gael Clichy’s throne as the Gunners’ undisputed left back, but Nacho Monreal’s steady performances have pushed Gibbs back in the pecking order.
With the Spaniard almost always completing the full 90 minutes, the 27-year-old England international has only really been brought on in a more advanced role in certain games, three times to be exact.
7. Nathaniel Chalobah
Time spent on the bench this season: 1 day, 12 hours and 48 minutes
Antonio Conte has been pretty generous in allowing some of his younger players to have a more prominent role in the first team this season, but one starlet that has barely moved from his seat on the subs’ bench is Nathaniel Chalobah.
Finally back at the Blues after four consecutive seasons away on loan at various sides, the elegant midfielder has made eight cameo appearances from the bench in the Premier League this season, the rest of the time simply making up the numbers.
6. Enner Valencia
Time spent on the bench this season: 1 day, 12 hours and 55 minutes
Everton secured the season-long loan of Enner Valencia from West Ham last summer in a bid to boost their firepower and provide competition for first choice striker Romelu Lukaku, yet the Belgian has barely been troubled for his starting spot by his Ecuadorian teammate.
Valencia, who has three goals from a total of 20 Premier League appearances this season, has become increasingly used to seeing his name amongst the substitutes and he’s spent the majority of the campaign waiting for his all too familiar 20 minute introduction in the second half.
5. Brad Smith
Time spent on bench this season: 1 day, 14 hours and 52 minutes
Another summer signing who will feel slightly betrayed having spent pretty much the entire season as an unused substitute, Brad Smith joined Bournemouth from Liverpool as part of a £6m deal.
The Australian international left back got a couple of opportunities to showcase his talent for the Cherries around the new year, but aside from that it has been a campaign of match-watching for 23-year-old.
4. Shaun Maloney
Time spent on the bench this season: 1 day, 16 hours and 43 minutes
Despite proving himself as a reliable goalscorer whilst at Wigan Athletic, Shaun Maloney has been complete overlooked at Hull City, especially since Marco Silva came into the job, with the 34-year-old forward playing just 85 minutes in total since his arrival.
The Scottish international played a part in five of the Tigers’ opening eight games, but he’s been reduced to a permanent spot on the bench ever since, seemingly having less chance of getting some minutes than the second choice keeper.
3. Alberto Moreno
Time spent on the bench this season: 1 day, 23 hours and 29 minutes
What is it with Liverpool-affiliated full backs being permanently benched this season? While both Flanagan and Smith left Anfield in the summer, Alberto Moreno stayed a Red, but he may well be regretting that now after barely featuring this season.
The Spanish full back, who was previously a first choice starter for the Merseyside club, has been sidelined by Jurgen Klopp and, despite remaining fully fit for the entire Premier League campaign, has seen just 283 minutes of first team action.
2. Michy Batshuayi
Time spent on the bench this season: 2 days and 21 minutes
Many of you may have suspected the ultimate serial bencher to be in first place, but not even for this unwanted honour can Michy Batshuayi come out on top. The Belgian striker has been completely wasted by Chelsea, although the Blues do remain on course to win the title nonetheless.
Signed for a whopping £33m, Batshuayi has played second fiddle to Diego Costa (as well as to some of the converted midfielders) since the word go, earning a humorous reputation as a rather pricey cameo appearance maker for the last few minutes of every game.
1. James Tarkowski
Time spent on the bench this season: 2 days, 1 hour and 32 minutes
Erm who? Exactly. Topping the list for the most amount of time spent on the bench this season is second string Burnley defender James Tarkowski. Incredibly, the 24-year-old has featured in 14 separate Premier League games for the Clarets this season.
However, in almost all of those occasions, the former Brentford man has been introduced in the final few minutes with Sean Dyche keen to defend in the late stages of a game. Tarkowski has started every single top flight game on the bench this season, playing more than 18 minutes on only one instance.